Finnegans Cake

Inspired by Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

If your first reaction to Finnegans Wake is huh?…you’re not alone. James Joyce’s head-scratchingly difficult, postmodern word salad has baffled readers, writers, students, and literary scholars for decades. It doesn’t help that Joyce abandons conventional narrative in favor of splicing words and syllables that mimic the subconscious mind in the dream state in a sort of nonlinear dream narrative. The entire book is cyclical with the last line as part of the first line, and the first line is part of the last line and the whole thing is pretty mind-blowing. 

The plot (yes, friends, there is a plot) centers around pub owners Mr. and Mrs. Porter and their children, Kevin, Jerry, and Issy, who live above their pub in Chapelizod (a town near Dublin). Once they go to sleep, the narrative changes and things get really confusing. The Porters become the Earwicker family – Henry Chimpden Earwicker or HCE (Here Comes Everything), Anna Livia Plurabelle or ALP, Shem the Penman, Shaun the Postman, and Issy. And, of course, there’s Tim Finnegan, a dead construction worker whose wife dismembers his corpse and tries to serve him as a snack at his wake. The mourners douse his body with whiskey and resurrect him, but he disappears before they can have him for lunch. Maybe that’s why whiskey is called the “water of life”. 

Moving right along. HCE gets himself in hot water for alleged indiscretions with young girls and ALP tries to clear his name. Part II of the novel focuses on the Earwicker children, but Joyce weaves parallel narratives of secondary characters throughout making it even more confusing. The book ends with a monologue by ALP as she attempts to wake her sleeping husband – “Rise up, man of the hooths, you have slept so long!” 

Fun Fact – the last line of the book can be made into a complete sentence by adding it to the words that start the book: A way a lone a last a loved a long the / riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a ommodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. 

It’s best to read Finnegans Wake on a full stomach and with no less than two adult beverages (preferably whiskey).  I suggest is to die for And of course, the sandwich


And now here’s something I think you’ll really like →



Chocolate Swiss Roll with Bailey’s Cream Filling

  • Author: Ann K



For the cake:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream – ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • ½ tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese – softened
  • 4 tbs butter – melted
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tbs Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Directions for cake:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  
  2. Line a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Leave a little extra on all sides so you can lift the cake easily once it’s baked. Spray the parchment with cooking spray to prevent the cake from sticking.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and granulated sugar until well blended. Add butter and vanilla extract and mix well.  Fold in the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. With a rubber spatula, spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched. 
  6. Grabbing the edges of the parchment, carefully lift the cake out onto a flat, heat-resistant surface. Using your hands, carefully roll the cake – roll from short end to short end — until rolled tightly. Place on a wire rack to cool.  
  7. While the cake is cooling to room temperature, make the filling.
  8. Once the cake has cooled, transfer to a flat surface, and slowly unroll it.  Spread the filling evenly over cake, leaving roughly ½ inch border on all sides.  Then carefully re-roll the cake, peeling the parchment carefully as you roll. 
  9. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve. 
  10. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar, slice, and enjoy!

Directions for filling:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combined soften cream cheese, powdered sugar, 3 tbs (or more) of Bailey’s, butter, and vanilla extract until smooth. 
  2. You can thin out the mixture if it’s too thick with either more Bailey’s (I highly recommend) or a few tbs of water. 

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